The Angel Moroni (//) is, in Mormonism, an angel that visited Joseph Smith, Jr. on numerous occasions, beginning on September 21, 1823. According to Smith, the angel was the guardian of the golden plates, which Latter Day Saints believe were the source material for the Book of Mormon, buried in a hill near Smith's home in western New York. Moroni is an important figure in the theology of the Latter Day Saint movement, and is featured prominently in Mormon architecture and art. Three Witnesses besides Joseph Smith also reported that they saw Moroni in visions in 1829, as did several other witnesses who each said they had their own vision.
Moroni is thought by Latter Day Saints to be the same person as a Book of Mormon prophet-warrior named Moroni, who was the last to write in the golden plates. The book states that Moroni buried them before he died after a great battle between two pre-Columbian civilizations. After he died, he became an angel, and was tasked with guarding the golden plates, and with eventually directing Joseph Smith to their location in the 1820s. According to Smith, he returned the golden plates to Moroni after they were translated and as of 1838 the angel Moroni still had the plates in his possession.
The Latter Day Saint movement (also called the LDS movement or LDS restorationist movement) is the collection of independent church groups that trace their origins to a Christian primitivist movement founded by Joseph Smith in the late 1820s. Collectively, these churches have over 15 million members. The vast majority of members belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), with their predominant theology being Mormonism. The LDS Church self-identifies as Christian. A minority of Latter Day Saint adherents, such as members of the Community of Christ, believe in traditional Protestant theology, and have distanced themselves from some of the distinctive doctrines of Mormonism. Other breakaway groups include the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints which support lineal succession of leadership from Joseph Smith's descendants, and the more controversial Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, who defend the practice of polygamy.
The movement began in western New York during the Second Great Awakening when Smith said that he received visions revealing a new sacred text, the Book of Mormon, which he published in 1830 as a complement to the Bible. Based on the teachings of this book and other revelations, Smith founded a Christian primitivist church, called the Church of Christ. The Book of Mormon brought hundreds of early followers, who later became known as "Mormons", "Latter Day Saints", or just "Saints." In 1831 Smith moved the church headquarters to Kirtland, Ohio, and in 1834 changed its name to the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints."